Friday, 30 January 2009

I Am A Writer

Just thought I need a little reminder seeing as I haven't actually written anything for the last three weeks. Time was that many three weeks would pass without me writing anything of significance, but for the last two years writing has become increasingly part of who I am. And the last three weeks have left me feeling - empty.. When I eavesdrop on my fellow writers on the SAF blog I feel like a ghost haunting a much loved place that I long to go back to. Ok bit over melodramatic that, but I am seriously missing the whole writing thing. Grrrrr.

Still only 3 weeks max to go. Meanwhile my novel, sits in a bag at my feet. I daren't look at it in case it is looking back with big beseeching eyes "Edit me! Edit Me!".

Actually I did write something today. I had just spent half an hour speed researching Carry On Films/Anatomy of the Human Body/Algebraic Formulae/British Generals and popped downstairs for a cuppa, when a voice started up in my head. It was one of my characters mid-monologue. She continued as I brewed up and searched fruitlessly (or more truthfully biscuitlessly) for a mid-afternoon snack. I got back to my desk and started to scribble. Ten minutes later I had two sides of A4 which I fed into the novel bag in the hope that it will keep my grumbling manuscript happy for a while.

Meanwhile (part 2) - Hubby is reading the novel. Other than myself and my mentor no-one else has read more than a brief snippet and hubby is the first to read it from beginning to end, as a novel, with no prior knowledge of what is going on. Ongoing reviews include: "Exciting!", "A real page turner" and "I couldn't put it down (apart from when I got to my train station)" and best of all (if said in a bit of a surprised voice) "It's like a real novel!!!"

My first reader. And I married him!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Life is good

Thank you for all your kind words on my printing nightmare and apologies for the scantiness of my blogging, both here and in my comments on everyone elses blogs. I am truly swamped with work at the moment having taken on about a years work to be done in two months. The end is in sight but only at the end of a long tunnel of many houred days.

Anyway enough wingeing; life is good. I had a fantastic meeting with my writing mentor last week. She has now read the latest draft of my novel in full. My head will explode with boastfulness if I repeat all the lovely things she said about it but basically the keywords were 'very publishable' and 'I love it'. The latter coming from a many times published and highly respected author / intelligent well-read woman makes me very happy indeed. The former (for all the same reasons) makes me very excited. In fact we were both very excited over our coffees last week . She is keen for me to get my first chapters out to an agent asap, but there is still some tinkering to be done with the rest. I don't want to risk being asked for a full manuscript and then feeling that it's not quite ready and not having any spare time to get it ready.

It may all have to wait until the end of Feb / beginning of March when I can give it my best. Just wish I wasn't so impatient. Meanwhile my mentor has helped me draft my covering letter and given me loads of help with my synopsis about which I was formerly clueless. What a star. Can highly recommend her and the mentoring scheme that she runs - if anyone wants more details let me know and I will send links etc.

Hurrah I've run and blogged this morning. Now I'd better do some work

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Note to Self

Next time you plan to print off your entire novel (revised 2nd draft) with the intention of getting it in the post by 4pm (for guaranteed next day delivery to eagerly awaiting mentor who was quite possibly expecting it to arrive today) REMEMBER your printer takes 1 hour to print 150 pages. If you only have forty minutes to print 400 pages - IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

In case anyone was wondering I haven't disappeared in a tide of festivity.

There has been lots of the old wine swilling and cake and pie troughing of course (and carol singing, barefoot dancing, paper chain making, walks in frosty woods etc) But there has also been a shed load of work with an impending deadline of February and my novel edits. I have been writing from 6-8 every morning and then working at the computer til 5 or 6. So sadly I have not been feeling up to blogging (my eyes scream at me 'No more screen, please, no more screen.')

I've popped back in today because I've had a day off from both writing and working (Long walk among frost-dipped trees, pint in tinsel dripping pub and New Years Day tea with friends) and suddenly realised that I would actually quite like to spend half an hour or so at the computer.

Lots of other people have summarised/reviewed their writing year and it's been fab reading about everyone's efforts and successes and determination.

Personally I have had my best writing year ever - having finished the first draft of my first novel, submitted 14 stories to women's magazines and had a story shortlisted for the Fish Prize. My only (!) resolutions for 2009 are to get the final draft of the novel finished and sent out to an agent, to get back on my womag story writing horse and to survive my current work contract (only 2 months to go!).

Last year I made two resolutions. The first was to write a novel. It's the same resolution I have made every year for ever and I'm chuffed as chuffed that I actually acheived it.

My second one was not to buy any new clothes. Lots of reasons for this one, including - having too many clothes already, being skint, and guilt about the exploitation of labour generally involved in clothing manufacture and its environmental impact. And I did it. A whole year without buying new clothes. Emphasis on the 'new' as I was allowed as many secondhand clothes as I liked, because only the the first reason counted against it (and I made up for that by bagging up lots of clothes I no longer wear and taking them along with me to the charity shops.) I didn't go quite as mad in the charity shops as I thought I would though, although there were a few bargains (and a couple of non-bargain but fabulous vintage dresses) that I couldn't resist.

So now its 2009, am I going to go on a shopping blitz? Probably not, I've sort of gone off the idea. It was really liberating not even being tempted by the outfits on display in shop windows and I've enjoyed rediscovering items that I had shoved to the back of the wardrobe and forgotten about.

Also the combination of work and writing is going to keep me at my desk and away from the shops the next couple of months. Maybe after that a shiny new pair of boots wouldn't be too bad an idea.

Happy New Year everyone, hope it brings good things to you all.